Current Students

M.F.A. in Drama & Theatre for Youth and Communities

Jennifer Arffmann

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Jennifer Arffmann is an M.F.A. candidate in the Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities program. Jennifer has a background in arts integration and teaching visual art through Drama Based Pedagogy at a public charter school in East Austin. As an Applied Theatre practitioner in the DTYC program, Jennifer’s focus is in arts integration and devising. Working primarily with youth to devise theatre around gender, Jennifer spent the last two summers working with Off Center Teen to create an original performance based off of the Rude Mechanicals devising techniques. Her background in visual art and arts integration has led her to continue to work in professional development as part of the Creative Learning Initiative and Drama For Schools, and more recently in the field of museum theatre. Jennifer is currently collaborating with The Contemporary Austin on devising an original museum theatre performance for her thesis in November 2015. 

Briana Bower

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Originally from Wayne, Pennsylvania, Briana Bower is a M.F.A. candidate in Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities at UT Austin. She received a BA in Theatre with a focus in Theatre Education from Northwestern University, and completed an honors thesis that explored the process of site specific devising with youth. While in Chicago, Briana worked with Light Opera Works, School District 65, Dream Big, and Chicago Children's Theatre, specifically with the Red Kite Camp. Before coming to UT, she was the Tour Manager for Child’s Play Touring Theatre, where she adapted and performed stories written by students all over the US, led summer camps, and developed cross curriculum story writing guides. At UT, Briana is researching how object/arts-based performance projects impact youth identity formation and perception, and exploring the creation of site specific performative installations that invite audience participation and interaction.

Tamara Carroll

Tamara Carroll is excited to be joining the Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities program at UT Austin. She graduated with a B.A. in Theatre from Reed College, after which she remained in Portland and founded Action/Adventure Theatre with several friends. While producing and directing theatre for twentysomethings by night, by day she brought educational theatre programming to thousands of grade school children throughout Portland and the surrounding suburbs, touring with both Oregon Children's Theatre and Sight Theatre Group on shows addressing renewable energy, healthy eating, energy conservation, bullying, childhood obesity, and peer pressure. During the summer, Tamara works as a theatre director and acting instructor at Buck's Rock Creative and Performing Arts Camp, an amazing program where teens explore a variety of visual and performance art mediums in a Montessori style setting. She is looking forward to an abundance of self-discovery and illumination in the upcoming years.

José Casas

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José Casas is a first year graduate student in the Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities Program. He has earned a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara in Dramatic Arts, a M.A. in Theatre Arts from California State University, Los Angeles and a M.F.A. in Playwriting from Arizona State University. For the past decade, he has been teaching in a number of different schools such as CSULA, University of Redlands and College of Charleston. He is the former literary manager of CASA0101. He is known for his playwriting in the field of Theatre for Young Audiences. He has had his plays produced across the country and has a number of publications to his name. He is currently creating an anthology, Palabras del Cielo: A Critical Anthology of Latina/o Plays & Playwrights that is scheduled to be published by Dramatic Publishing in 2015. He is excited about exploring the issue of diversity in TYA and its importance to the landscape of the field.

Rebecca Drew Emmerich

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Rebecca Drew Emmerich is a first year M.F.A. candidate in the Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities program at The University of Texas at Austin. She receive​​​​d a B.F.A. in Theatre from Western Kentucky University (WKU). Becca Drew was a teaching artist and performer at Lexington Children's Theatre (KY), developing in-school residencies and creative drama classes. She returned to WKU to develop a new touring show centered around lesser know Brother's Grimm Fairytales (Fairytales You've Never Heard), which was selected to perform at the Theatre for Youth Festival at the Southeastern Theatre Conference in 2010. Working as a teaching artist in Chicago, she discovered Bubbles Academy - a learning enrichment center for babies to five year olds. As artistic director/curriculum coordinator, she taught creative movement, ballet, art and creative drama classes and designed interactive multimedia projections to accompany each class. It was there that her love of early childhood development, passion for arts education, and interest in technology and design merged. She is excited to join the DTYC program - to take her passions to the next level.

Moriah Flagler

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Moriah Flagler is a M.F.A. candidate in Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities at The University of Texas at Austin. After receiving her B.F.A. in Theatre Education from the University of Arizona, she taught seventh and eighth grade at Hermosa Montessori Middle School in Tucson, where she creatively wove drama-based pedagogy into the Montessori curriculum. Before moving to Austin, she spent two years teaching English as a second language in Quepos, Costa Rica. One of her favorite parts about teaching English was bringing language to life with her students through creative drama. While in Costa Rica, she began an improvisational theatre troupe for adolescents that toured and led community workshops, exposing many people to improvisational theatre for the first time. There, she also helped devise and performed in Sexo, con o sin Amor (Sex, with or without Love), a play that humorously explores issues around gender and sexuality in the community. Additionally, she toured to several rural schools with the play, El Cemeterio de los Libros Olvidados (The Cemetery of the Forgotten Books), inspiring children to keep literature alive through reading. Moriah is excited to continue her work with young people while at The University of Texas, discovering new ways to inspire them to tell their stories and strengthen their communities.

Stephanie Kent

Stephanie Kent is a M.F.A. candidate in Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities at The University of Texas at Austin. Stephanie graduated from Northwestern University with a B.S. in theatre and mathematics, and for her honors thesis, she facilitated a theatre piece with middle and high school students that explored the concept of displacement. Stephanie then went on to earn her M.Ed. in Secondary Education for Mathematics at George Washington University, and over the next five years she taught a variety of high school math courses at Georgetown Day School in Washington, DC. While at Georgetown Day, Stephanie co-facilitated performances with middle school students around issues of identity and diversity. She became very interested in exploring diversity and inclusion within schools, pursuing a number of professional development opportunities in the field while teaching a freshman seminar course about “the big eight” major social identifiers. 

Adrianna Alicia Matthews

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Adrianna Alicia Matthews is a graduate student in the Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities program. She is originally from Philadelphia, PA, Where she had been working as a Theatre and Drama teaching artist, actress and playwright over the last past three years. Additionally, she worked and crafted a majority of her theatrical experience at the University of Pennsylvania PQ Events Management as a House Manager and Operations Coordinator. Adrianna holds a B.A. degree in theatre arts and performance from Penn State University where she graduated in 2012. She recently decided to study for another year in her craft of playwriting at The University of Arts in Philadelphia for Directing/Playwriting/Production before entering graduate school. She plans to add her own personal experience and growth to the diversity of this campus combining music, playwriting, and education in her teaching and learning as she continues to pursue her career as a Teaching Artist for the Youth and the University.

Cortney McEniry

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Cortney McEniry is a M.F.A. candidate in the Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities program at The University of Texas at Austin. She has worked as a teaching artist with the education departments of McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, NJ, Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, MA and Synchronicity Theatre Company in Atlanta, GA. She received her B.A. in Theatre Arts from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. Cortney is a co-founder of Front Porch Arts Collective, a multi-disciplinary arts organization working to bring artists and communities together to develop new work about the Southeast. 

Samantha Provenzano

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Samantha Provenzano is a current Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities candidate. She graduated with a B.A. in Acting from the University of Northern Colorado, where she toured Theater for Young Audiences pieces, including directing and collaborating on a devised bilingual piece that was recently published (El Viaje de Beatriz). She then moved to Denver, Colorado, where she worked with Mirror Image Arts, collaborating on Theater in Education curricula around bullying prevention, The Carson J. Spencer Foundation, facilitating suicide prevention through entrepreneurship in high schools and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, teaching acting and movement classes for young people. Sam hopes to continue her exploration of devised work and TYA

Lauren Smith

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Lauren Smith is a M.F.A. candidate in the Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities program at The University of Texas at Austin. She holds her B.F.A. in Stage Management and a minor in Education from Webster University's Conservatory of Theatre Arts in St. Louis, Missouri. Lauren has worked for various arts organizations, including Children's Theatre Company, the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Washington National Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, and Metro Theater Company. Most recently, she served as the education coordinator for Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, Minnesota, where she created programming focusing on theatre design and stage management for middle and high school students. She is looking to persue research and practice in arts-integrated instruction in public school classrooms, arts-based collaborative professional learning for classroom teachers and the intersections of arts instruction and educational policy.

Joshua Streeter

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Joshua Streeter is from the New York/Pennsylvania area. He holds degrees from Millikin University, Emerson College, and Mansfield University. Joshua has recently worked with several theatre companies focused on developing and producing new musical theatre. In addition to working in the theatre, he was a 2nd and 3rd grade classroom teacher for four and a half years. Joshua is an active member of American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE) and is currently a theatre writer for the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS). The Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities (DTYC) program will assist Joshua in investigating the writing, producing, and history of Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA).